Princess Diana thought her husband should ‘stand aside’ to let William succeed the Queen because he wasn’t up to the job, a documentary reveals.
Speaking before her bombshell TV interview with Martin Bashir, Diana also made plain her ‘hatred’ for Prince Charles and described their marriage as ‘hell from day one’.
Details of the extraordinary conversation with former Daily Telegraph editor Max Hastings have only emerged 25 years later as Sir Max declined to publish them in a bid to ‘keep a lid’ on the royal scandal.
The princess went on to lay her frustrations bare on Panorama weeks later.
Now a new documentary – Diana: The Truth Behind the Interview – includes allegations that Bashir secured his infamous talk with the princess after an ‘elaborate plot’ which saw him show ‘faked’ bank statements to her brother.
Earl Spencer is said to have been so impressed by Bashir that he duly arranged for him to meet Diana.
The Channel 4 programme reveals how the princess poured her heart out to Sir Max three months before the Panorama interview, after driving to meet him in Berkshire. During their meeting, the princess even asked him if he had heard anything about a ‘conspiracy’ to have her ‘put down’.
Sir Max told Diana he was ‘terribly flattered’ she had ‘come all the way down to the country to talk to me’. In response, she said she was ‘terribly anxious for my side of this to come out’. Sir Max said: ‘I spent the best part of a couple of hours with Diana and she put on a wonderful show. It was absolutely gripping stuff.
‘It became clear first of all how much she hated Charles… yes, she did hate Charles. When I said ‘were there ever happy times?’, she said ‘no, the marriage was hell from day one’.
‘I was amazed by the frankness and the directness with which she said that.
‘She said that all she cared about was William’s succession to the throne and she said to me, quite explicitly, ‘I don’t think Charles can do it’. The outcome she wanted to see was for Charles to stand aside as heir… and for William to occupy the throne. This was pretty dynamic stuff.’
Explaining his decision not to publish details of their conversation, Sir Max said: ‘I felt that my job was to try and help them keep a lid on the worst of this, rather than to lift it off.
‘Diana said a lot of stuff on several occasions which I thought [was] for the fairies. She asked me what I knew about a conspiracy to sort of have her put down. I said… it sounded absolutely crazy to me. But she, I think, did believe this sort of stuff and it was one of many, many things that made one feel so desperately sorry for her… this sense of vulnerability.
‘You may be a very streetwise, brilliant enchantress, but you can also be not very bright. If you’ve got nobody sensible to advise you, or if you have [but] you won’t take their advice, you’re in a pretty bad place.’ As well as covering Panorama, the documentary touches upon Charles’s own TV interview with Jonathan Dimbleby in 1994, which is said to have prompted Diana to respond in kind.
Charles reportedly refused to admit having an affair with Camilla in a first interview – which was never broadcast. It is claimed that Dimbleby convinced the prince that the truth would come out eventually, leading to a second interview which saw him confess.
Bashir is alleged to have secured his own interview after showing fake bank statements to Earl Spencer, showing payments made by an offshore company and media group News International to his former head of security.
A BBC spokesman said last night: ‘The suggestion of criminal activity is a serious allegation, but, in these circumstances, a risible one. A handwritten note from Princess Diana attested to the fact the princess had not seen the ‘mocked-up’ bank statements and that they played no part in her decision to give the interview.’
The spokesman added that Bashir himself ‘is seriously unwell with Covid-related complications and we cannot put any of these questions to him’.
n Prince William has replaced the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh as patron of two wildlife charities.
Buckingham Palace said the roles with Fauna and Flora International and the British Trust for Ornithology ‘align with [the prince’s] longstanding work around conservation and support for communities protecting their natural environment for future generations’.
The Queen was FFI patron for almost seven decades. Philip. a lifelong ornithology enthusaist, held the same position with the BTO for more than 30 years.